The Atlantic Theater Company was founded in 1983 by the playwright David Mamet and the actor William H. Macy when they began teaching intensive workshops in Mamet's technique and philosophy of the theatre which became known as Practical Aesthetics. The Practical Aesthetics acting technique is founded on the principle that the challenge for the actor is to bring to the stage "the life of the soul," and that the purpose of every individual element of a production is to simply and truthfully tell the story. Simple, honest and straightforward, Practical Aesthetics demystifies the process of acting by giving the actor a very clear set of analytical and physical tools.
Mamet's technique synthesizes the writings and ideas of such diverse sources as Stanislavsky, Freud, Aristotle, Joseph Campbell and Bruno Bettlheim. The book, A Practical Handbook for the Actor, written by members of the Atlantic Theater Company, outlines the technique of Practical Aesthetics.
Atlantic Theater Company Acting School
The Atlantic Acting School provides actors with a solid acting technique, professional habits, performance experience, and support in entering the profession. Designed for the student seeking rigorous and rewarding training in a respectful and disciplined environment, this intensive program introduces students to professional-level ensemble work and teaches them how to build a successful career in the theater, film and television. The training produces skilled, brave actors intent on truthful storytelling and generous, collaborative ensemble members adept at producing their own work.
Second-year students perform an evening of one-acts in either the fall or spring semester in our black box studio theater. Recent productions have included Thornton Wilder's play cycle The Seven Deadly Sins, and the world premier of Signe, by Shel Silverstein.
Third-year students perform fully-produced classical plays in the fall semester in the Atlantic Theater Company’s off-Broadway house, Stage 2. Students also perform a self-written sketch comedy piece in our black box studio theater. Spring semester performances are full-length productions of contemporary texts. Recent productions include: Spring Awakening, Melancholy Play, and The Children’s Hour. The third year culminates in a full-length production that is student-selected, produced, directed and designed. This production introduces the new student-formed company to the community.
Casting is guaranteed in both years; roles are determined by audition.